WEST CHESTER -- Even before testimony starts in the trial of Eric Frein, the man accused of ambushing Pennsylvania state troopers, the cost to taxpayers continues to mount including this week during jury selection in the Philly suburbs.
Pike County Commissioners have known this death penalty trial will be expensive.
They even raised taxes partly because of that cost.
After two days of jury selection, not one juror has been picked. That could happen Monday.
Potential jurors walked out of the Chester County Justice Center near Philadelphia. If needed, they'll be back next week to fill out a jury for the trial of Eric Frein.
He's accused of the sniper attack at the state police barracks in Pike County in 2014. The ambush left Corporal Bryon Dickson dead and nearly killed Trooper Alex Douglass.
Frein faces the death penalty if convicted and has defense attorneys appointed by the court and paid for by Pike County. Their estimated two-week stay in Chester County during jury selection is paid for by taxpayers as well. So are the prosecutors, the judge and court staff. Pike County leaders saidit may cost $50 a day per person for meals and $125 a day for each hotel room.
"They're putting us up, they're going to have to put the jury up, to get a fair trial for our client," said Frein's attorney Bill Ruzzo.
Once the jury of 12 men and women plus six alternates is picked, they'll stay in the Milford area for the better part of two months. That cost will also be billed to folks in Pike County.
"It's the death penalty that's costing all the money," added Ruzzo.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys were able to agree to dismiss a total of 15 jurors after the second day of jury selection. This means there's roughly 200 jurors in the pool who will begin individual questioning on Monday.
"We'll find out if they have a fixed opinion and that is really what the test is for the juror, not that they have knowledge of the case," said Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin.
Jury selection is expected to last two weeks. Then the trial in Pike County is slated to start the first week of April and possibly last through May.